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tbblom 06-22-2012 07:33 PM

DIY salt noob, Florida, Yucatan, pics
Weddings in the keys and mexico gave me chance to finally break in the 10wt.
Unfortunately there is no money left for a guided flats trip.
It has not been easy, but I have managed to hook 6 fish and land 3. Fishing from a rental kayak in the Keys was the best way to get around on the cheap, as there was a lack of good wading. We saw nurse sharks, rays, and hooked a few small barracuda. After getting cut off by razor sharp teeth I moved up to 40lb. mono as a bite tippet and had success.

little 'cuda on my 7wt (destroyed a gurgler shrimp pattern)
toothy little maldito and what is left of the fly

On the Yucatan peninsula, we are staying at an all inclusive resort which sits on a nature preserve. There are flats loaded with fish, but they are all within the protected area, and fishing is 'prohibido'. North of the preserve is a small wadable flat that has produced 2 bites in a few trips out. It has been choppy with limited visibility; a tropical depression is forming and it is raining pretty hard. My lone-bone was caught on a blind retrieve the first day out. This morning calm water and overcast skies with light rain produced another that charged me and disappeared from my hook as I was giving myself a stripping burn! light rain gave way to full on downpour and high winds as we scurried back to the resort. I will go out again tomorrow morning if conditions allow, but the storm has a 70% chance of becoming a
tropical cyclone, so I am trying to be realistic...

pretty sure its a small bonefish, but I'll let the experts weigh in
The flat by the resort at dawn
Turns out that there is no need to be there at dawn. Both fish were hooked after 8am as fish began their approach to the 'protected' flat by a river outlet. The protected flat is loaded with fish on nicer days. It is like being in a candy store, but only being allowed access to the gumball machine outside!

looking south toward the resort, not a lot of sight fishing going on in the chop.

We saw a big tarpon cruising past a dock (but had no gear with me). Also, one of the workers at the resort told me about a 15lb. barracuda that cruises outside of the swim beach (also 'se prohibe pescar'):(

I wish we could afford the 400-500$ USD + tip for a guide+transportation out to ascension bay or the sian kaan preserve, but the weather is quickly deteriorating anyway. It has been cool learning the nature of the flats though; when fish come and go, and which tides they prefer. I have also only been using my own flies, which I consider a huge success for my first trip fly fishing in salt.

Side note: I went on a deep sea charter (18 guys on 3 boats before the Keys wedding). It was my first time, and we caught a few Mahi-mahi. One of the guys caught a nice permit on a live crab(spinning gear). The crew was nice enough to let me cast my 10wt while we were there. The mate didn't believe I would get any attention from a crab pattern, but I did manage to get a good follow from the depths with a 30' sink tip. It was a fly-anglers coup of sorts...

Here is the permit that took the live crab, I was only a tad jealous!

Wish me luck with this tropical storm!

gatortransplant 06-22-2012 08:18 PM

Re: DIY salt noob, Florida, Yucatan, pics
Does indeed look like you got your first bone there, TB! Looks like a great trip, good luck with the weather, and keep the pics coming!

freebird630 06-22-2012 09:08 PM

Re: DIY salt noob, Florida, Yucatan, pics
Looks like you had a great time and learned a lot about flats fishing. It's also really cool that you caught these using flies you tied.

stl_geoff 06-25-2012 08:04 AM

Re: DIY salt noob, Florida, Yucatan, pics
Yup, thatd be a bone! Way to go and catch one! I know some guys who are still trying at their first haha.

fishingfly 06-25-2012 08:35 AM

Re: DIY salt noob, Florida, Yucatan, pics

Originally Posted by stl_geoff (Post 467157)
Yup, thatd be a bone! Way to go and catch one! I know some guys who are still trying at their first haha.

Inadvertantly referring to me... any bonefish caught without a guide is big in my book. I went to the keys for a week specifically to catch a bonefish and didn't see one. Great fish and enjoy your vacation!

tbblom 06-26-2012 11:10 AM

Re: DIY salt noob, Florida, Yucatan, pics
Thanks guys, it was a tough week for wading the flats by the resort. When the mangroves flood, they flush all sorts of sulfur smelling junk into the sea. The flat I could access was a natural catch point for all of the debris and fine material. No more fish were hooked after that first post, although I did give it a go every morning for a few hours. I spoke with some guys at the airport that were returning from Cuba; the same storm messed with their plans as well, but Cuba sounds very cool as a future destination.:cool:

Back on my home waters this morning I managed 2 carp in about an hour, more fish than I caught in a week near a resort in Mexico...:confused:

Things I learned:
1. high slack tide is good (when calm)
2. low tide and chop is not so good
3. 2 of 3 fish caught were during a downpour over calm seas (rain is good).
4. A real flats boat would have helped a lot, although the kayak was pretty good.
5. Casting from a paddle board while letting the wind and current drift the board is a blast. I saw lots of fish that way, including a nurse shark and some decent sized rays.
6. If visibility is poor, a blind cast over dark water can still produce a bonefish if you feel the take.
7. Barracuda will stoke your ego! Mean little buggers.
8. Learning on my own was an adventure, but next time I hope to hire a guide for at least a day. (with a boat to leave the resort madness...)

Can't wait to get back to the tropics. I am hoping for christmas in the keys on my girlfriend's parent's sailboat this winter. 'Sabalo' aka Tarpon is still high on my priority list, as well as 'robalo' aka snook. I believe the tarpon are still around the keys during christmas, at least they were two years ago when I first got to see one.

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